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Catio for begginers (and relatively on the cheap)

SV Dad

Savannah Super Cat
Part 1.
My wife and I got tired of chasing the cats around the yard when they broke free from the house or when on their collars. They really love the fresh air and the begging was ridiculous. So we went to the local Petsmart. We were about to get this really big dog cage and had even loaded it onto a cart, when my eyes found this.
kennelsmall.jpg

And also this, which was very important .
Coversmall.jpg
This is a 10 foot (3 meters) by 10 foot aluminum chain link fence, with a hinged door and latch, and the optional sunshading cover.

Tools required were: hammer, adjustable wrench, pliers, and tape measure. I added 1/2 inch (or 13mm) deep socket ratchet or power driver, and a bunch of good quality 3/16 inch nylon zip ties (a lifesaver!).
Begin by reading the instructions (first!) then laying out the base on level ground. and then position the uprights. Then lay out the uprights and top rail.

IMG_0349small.jpg

Then attach the uprights, with the bolt head below and the nut on top.

IMG_0348small.jpg

Snug up the clamp so that you can rotate the side pole to the upright position and they stay upright.

IMG_0350smll.jpg

Don't forget the door frame (22 & 1/4 inch opening) and spacing the intermediate (middle) vertical poles. These do not need to be exact, ball park works fine. Don't put the door on just yet. Walk your way around the square by assembling the top bars like the bottom frame and tighten snug, as you will need some finer adjustments when this set is complete to square up the basic frame. When square, tighten up the frame. (Hang on Part 2 is following!)
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
Looks great rascaldad. I personally avoid chain link as I have seen cats get their claws stuck in the twisted wire but hopefully your cats won't be interested in climbing the walls. Also, I have had cats literally rip through the tarp covers and now have heavy gauge 2x4 wire panels covering the top of my outdoor enclosure.
 

SV Dad

Savannah Super Cat
Part 2.
Install the door. First install the lower hinges and put the door into position and slightly snug the upper hinges on both the door post and door so that with a little pressure you can slide them into position. Tighten it up. Either a ratchet wrench or a variable power drill with 1/2 inch extended socket really helps! IMG_0352small.jpg
Now install the latch. IMG_0353small.jpg
Up till now, this is a one person job. Not, anymore! Go find neighbors. Two would be good (I got three!). I don't have many pictures for this next part as the neighbors didn't have that much time and they know how to get things done, now! (and amazingly quickly). The fencing comes in a roll and is heavy, about 70 pounds. Now it gets a little tricky. Look at this photo. IMG_0364.JPG
Note how the fencing begins with a rod inserted at the end of the chain roll and is attached to the door frame with "c" clamps. As one person holds this starting assembly in place, the others begin to stretch out the fencing past the middle pole and around the next side. As per instructions, use the handle end of a hammer to go thru a link and lever against the corner upright to bring tension of the fencing. IMG_0356small.jpg This is where the nylon wire ties were amazing. Have you any idea how hard and how much time it took to wrap that aluminum wire around the post. Guess how fast that nylon wire tie went in! Pay attention to make sure the top and bottom match the top and bottom rails. Tie in the first corner in five places. Go back to the middle pole and tie it in in five places. If you have extra crew like I did, they are now off and running the rest of the fencing around the next three sides in a repeat of the above procedure. I had the fun part of tying in the top and bottom fencing to the rails every third link set. (So the sneaky intelligent furry creatures don't escape.) I tried the aluminum wire tie in for the first side. After that I went to the nylon wire tie IMG_0357small.jpg as this cut the installation time and effort of this step by 90%! So you get this (neighbor not included!) IMG_0355small.jpg
While I was getting aggravated tying in the top and bottoms, the neighbors finished stretching the fence to the other side of the door, insert the rod and stretched this assembly and connected the end to the other door post with the "c" clamps.
So as we all know a six foot straight up jump for a savannah is a skill mastered at 5 months, thus the cover.
When you take out and open the cover, it seems that is is too small. Not so. the cover comes with an abundant amount of nylon wire ties. Loosely tie in two corners and the go down the side about every third grommet hole and tie them in loosely also. Go to the other side and repeat this procedure and then loosely tie in the sides. Starting again at the corners, tighten them up snug. IMG_0363.JPG
Now walk the sides and tighten up the previously loose ties and snug them. Find remaining grommet holes and nylon tie them up snugly.
All that's left is the inspection team. IMG_0361small.jpg
Mayhem (left) and Rascal (under me) approve!. Time: two hours.

This was accomplished for $210 US. The nice lady at the checkout utilized a coupon this weekend and saved us around $60 but we bought a bunch of cat food also. Beer bribes for neighbors was extra.
 
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SV Dad

Savannah Super Cat
Looks great rascaldad. I personally avoid chain link as I have seen cats get their claws stuck in the twisted wire but hopefully your cats won't be interested in climbing the walls. Also, I have had cats literally rip through the tarp covers and now have heavy gauge 2x4 wire panels covering the top of my outdoor enclosure.
Yes, that is a concern. And Rascal (Well, er, that is his name for a reason!) immediately got his head stuck as he tried to sneak out. He backed out and hasn't tried it since. We have a rule that we will NOT take the cats out unless we are physically on the patio right next to the catio, or in it with them. This is to monitor their shenanigans.
I am considering hanging some shelves on the sides to give the cats something to lay on.
And thank you for further ideas! I might need them. I'm trying to figure out how I could get some netting for the inside, but I am worried the little %$&(! will use that to climb!.
Also to note. As this weights about 160 pounds, I will be able to drag this unit around so that I may mow the lawn underneath, and with the help of neighbors, move it out of the way for the winter.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
The cats would probably enjoy some shelves in there, or a weather resistant cat tree - Jacqui was posting pics of her PVC cat tree earlier this week but I think it was on a Yahoo group.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
View attachment 8591
Mayhem (left) and Rascal (under me) approve!. Time: two hours.

This was accomplished for $210 US. The nice lady at the checkout utilized a coupon this weekend and saved us around $60 but we bought a bunch of cat food also. Beer bribes for neighbors was extra.


Oh, I absolutely love this!

Neighbor, "Psssssst, not only does he push his cats down the sidewalk in a baby stroller, but in his backyard he locks himself in a cage with them".

Actually, it looks like a great place to hang with the boys and I'm sure they're going to love it!
 

Sue

Savannah Super Cat
The Kitty Play Center from Sport Pet like I have out by the pool would work. They were $15 each. I have posted pictures of it elsewhere under Tink's new outdoor tree. Sue
 
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